A record number of applications for funding from the Erosion Control Funding Programme have been approved by Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand).
This will see more than $7.6 million spent on 5,079 hectares of erosion-prone land across 64 properties in the Gisborne district and is closely linked to the implementation of the One Billion Trees programme.
"Our partner in managing the programme, the Gisborne District Council, has worked hard with landowners to facilitate applications for land that needed this work. This has resulted in almost 3-times the usual number of applications,” said Steve Penno, director of investment programmes, Ministry for Primary Industries.
"The council has put resource in and has done a great job ensuring the work continued to secure these projects, while also dealing with urgent pressures following the severe weather events."
This year's funding round opened in May and was extended until mid-July, following the Queen's Birthday storms that caused damage in affected areas, especially Tolaga Bay.
"The criteria for these funding decisions links to our overarching aims for land management through the One Billion Trees programme – we need to get the right trees in the right places for the right purposes. That means making decisions for the best sustainable land use for now, in 5 years' time, and in 20 and 30 years' time."
A small number of the total applications were approved with conditions, where the land is classified as red-zoned or very high risk under the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry. These will be subject to resource consents to ensure the surrounding environment is protected.
The Te Uru Rākau assessment process for applications includes GIS (geographic information system) mapping and assessment of land eligibility and technical forestry assessment. A specialist assessment panel reviews each application to ensure the proposed treatment is suitable for the site and can be practically managed into the future.
The Erosion Control Funding Programme was established in 1992 to achieve sustainable land management of the worst eroding land in the Gisborne District. To date, 42,000 hectares have been treated.